CRS Automotive

6 Mistakes to Avoid While Cleaning Car Wheels

There’s hardly a more serene feeling than having a freshly washed car that shines like a diamond in the morning sun.

And there’s hardly a more disturbing sight than spotting four dirty, muddy, dusty rims that spoil the idyll.

It seems you haven’t paid proper attention. We told you to start washing the car body only when you’re done with the wheels. Not vice versa.

And that’s our first common mistake.

1) Washing the body first

Although it may seem obvious, it’s worth noting: the rubber legs of your car are its dirtiest part. It’s not just the mud that ruins the fancy looks of the wheels. It’s also brake dust, which sticks to the rims’ clear coat. If not cleaned properly, it may cause corrosion. That is why you will want to start your car bathe a little bit counterintuitively – the parts that touch the soil are to be washed first.

There’s a practical side to it too. You don’t want all that dirt to splash all over the shiny and polished paintwork. So, wash the wheels first.

2) Cleaning all the wheels simultaneously

The process of cleaning your wheels is pretty long. On top of that, there’s the fact that your car has four wheels.

But running around the car in circles won’t make it any faster.

First, you will feel dizzy after a while.

Second, you don’t want the water, soap, and chemicals to get dry every time before you pass to the next phase. Just stay still and work on one wheel at a time.

3) Using acidic cleaners (or common dish soap)

There are tons of cleaners on the market these days. That’s why there’s no excuse for not paying attention to the labels. Acid is going to scrub off the brake dust; we’ll give you that. But clear coat will go away along with the dust. And we don’t want that to happen. The clear coat is there to protect the rim AND make it look nice. So, when choosing an adequate cleaner, pick one that is PH neutral.

When talking about dish soap, well… One cannot repeat this too many times: dish soap was made for dishes. Many people use it for washing the car body. True, it is cheap. True, it can degrease any surface. But we are not after degreasing here. There are much tougher (and more dangerous) things piled up on the wheels. While sitting there, they’ll just scoff at the approaching sponge drenched with dish soap.

4) Soaking the wheels with clean water and rubbing

If you make this mistake, all you can hope for are some mean scratches on the coat. The same goes for washing any part of your car. Rinsing with a hose (hands off) is totally legit. But rubbing with clear water is not. At least in this stage, when there are many sharp particles still stuck on the surface.

You will need some lubricant to make the sponge run smoothly. Soapy water works perfectly. Don’t spare it. The more slippery the surface is, the better.

5) Using a toothbrush for the cavities

It’s great when you don’t need any more tools than you already have. But this one will do you a disservice. It’s stiff and unadaptable, and the bristles are too short. Plus, the surface of the rim is too big (and uneven) for the tiny little toothbrush. For scrubbing the rims, you need a gentle brush with long and non-abrasive bristles that can reach the tight parts. Wheel brushes typically cost around $6-7, and you can get a more advanced version with a longer stem for around $25. While brushing, just pay special attention to the lug nuts, which tend to stubbornly keep the brake dust.

Also, make sure not to use a tire brush on the rims and vice versa.

After rubbing off the filth and removing all the grit, you’ll get the best results if you employ a piece of detailing clay. It’s devised for the finest particles that would otherwise be stuck in the finish.

Needless to say, once you’re done with it, rinse off.

6) Using chamois or paper towels or bath towels for drying

Chamois is a great material when it comes to… wiping up your glasses or something like that.

When your pet’s rims are shiny again after the treatments above, they will need drying up before the final touch. Don’t leave them to dry on their own if you don’t want watermarks to ruin your hard work.

So, which material to use?

As always when it comes to car detailing, use a microfiber cloth. Or four. It is the only material which is capable of gently absorbing the water without scratching the coat or leave any marks on it. Chamois has too smooth a surface, so it will smear the water around and rub the dirt into the clear coat.

So, when you’re done with all of the pedantries, it’s time for the final moment – waxing. Apply wax, leave it for 10-15 minutes and buff it off.

Admire the brand-new-looking rims you’ve got there, and give us high five for the hard work done.

Want to let others take care of the details? Come to our repair shops in Hamilton today!

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